Red Bull Announces 2009 Air Race Lineup

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Red Bull this week announced its plans for this year's series of air races, with an expanded roster of 15 pilots but only six locations, down from eight last year. This year's series will skip Australia, London, and the Netherlands, but adds a stop in Barcelona, Spain. The Detroit venue has shifted slightly across the border to Windsor, Ontario. Other sites for 2009 include Abu Dhabi, San Diego, Budapest, and Portugal. A rumored extra stop on the U.S. East Coast apparently didn't work out. The expanded pilot field will compete in a new race format that includes a "wild card" session to open race day. "The new race format is yet another big step forward for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship," said Heinz Moeller, aviation director for Red Bull. "Pure racing is guaranteed, and the emphasis will be on pilot skill because all the pilots will be racing straight after each other against the clock." The four new pilots are Pete McLeod, of Canada; Yoshihide Muroya, of Japan; Matt Hall, of Australia, and Matthias Dolderer, of Germany.

The schedule for this year's races, as of today, includes: Abu Dhabi, UAE, April 17-18; San Diego, May 9-10; Windsor, Ontario, June 13-14; Budapest, Hungary, Aug. 19-20; Porto, Portugal, Sept. 12-13, and Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 3-4.